Indiana Hoosier and American record-breaking breaststroker Ian Finnerty did an AMA on reddit yesterday, saying he’s used rock climbing as a way to strengthen his forearms for breaststroke.
For those who don’t waste too much time on the internet, “AMA” stands for “Ask Me Anything” and has become a format for direct Q&As between people of interest and fans on the Reddit website. Finnerty did his AMA yesterday on the swimming subreddit, answering a number of key questions on his own training and his future in the sport. You can read the full AMA here, but we’ve republished a handful of Finnerty’s questions and answers below:
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do that works on breastroke? Also how wide would you say your kick is? I can’t really tell by videos
A: Thank you! I think the most beneficial thing for breast stroke that you can do in the water is pulling. I had a big focus pulling with a buoy and paddles this seasons. We will also use bands that restrict the ability to use your legs while we do sets. As far as outside the pool goes, I really enjoy rock climbing as it strengthens forearms. The longer you can go in the race before your forearms fatigue, the better, and I think climbing has really helped in that regard. It also takes my head out of swimming and gives me a hobby so that’s also good!
I’m not really sure how close they are in the race to be exact. But in practice I really try to get my knees within about a foot of each other. The less drag I’m causing to get into the kick power position the better.
Q: Do you do pull breaststroke or just freestyle, I feel breaststroke could be quite akward, how do you overcome the odd body position?
A: I pull both frequently. And the awkward body position thing is just something that is going to happen. Your main focus should just be the upper body and getting that strengthened. A dolphin kick with the legs would be fine and would make it less awkward
Q: Did you ever think you would make it this far? How did you choose Indiana as the school you would swim for? What advice would you give to someone who wants to be at your level one day?
A: I had the goals to make it this far, but no one ever really knows if they will. When visiting schools my number one question was “if I couldn’t swim here, would I still be happy to come to this school?” And indiana fit that perfectly.